Welcome to Rockford Rescue Mission

Rockford Rescue Mission is recognized as the region’s primary provider of assistance to the homeless,
near-homeless, addicted and working poor in the Rock River Valley.


Mission Statement

Rockford Rescue Mission shares hope and help in Jesus’ name to move people from homelessness and despair toward personal and spiritual wholeness.

Core Values

  • Living for the Glory of God
  • Respecting Human Dignity and Immortality
  • Proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Modeling Compassionate Generosity
  • Partnering with the Church and Community
  • Serving with Integrity and Excellence
  • Rejoicing in Lives Changed by God


A Message from CEO


Hello and welcome to Rockford Rescue Mission!


In 2022, we have marked 58 years of serving the homeless and hurting in our community and region. Sadly, homelessness and addiction remain significant pain points in Rockford. The pandemic has only intensified this, while challenging our staff and community not only to persevere, but to prayerfully innovate.


While Rockford Rescue Mission has changed significantly since 1964, our mission never changes: We share hope and help in Jesus’ name to move people from homelessness and despair toward personal and spiritual wholeness. Our Crisis Centers provide food and shelter to hundreds of men, women and children each day. Our Life Recovery Programs offer long-term, Christ-centered help and hope for men and women struggling with addiction, domestic violence and other desperate circumstances.


We believe in “whole person” care — always with Christ at the center. To that end, we offer an amazing range of services that people usually don’t equate with a rescue mission. These include:


  • Works! Center: Tutoring, training and testing for people entering or re-entering college or the workplace.
  • Performing Arts Center: Allows our Life Recovery residents to explore music and the arts as wonderful creative outlets.
  • Nettie’s Mercantile & Café: A unique shopping experience, with handmade décor and delicious drinks … with all of the proceeds supporting the Mission.
  • Thrift Store: Serves the community with high-quality donated goods, while generating a significant percentage of the Mission’s annual funding.
  • Hope Clinic: Free medical, nursing, chiropractic and dental care.


Your prayer, financial and volunteer support make all of this possible. Our Mission residents and guests feel blessed and encouraged, knowing they have neighbors, churches and businesses standing beside them and supporting their recovery. If you haven’t already, please consider partnering with us. Your impact will last for eternity.



Sherry Pitney



Meeting Big Needs in Rockford


39,838 nights of lodging last year = avg. of 109 people per day


125,987 meals last year = avg. of 345 per day


19,979 community donations of clothing, household goods, etc. last year


6,884 counseling sessions last year

Meet Our Leadership Team

Sherry web3

Sherry Pitney


Chris Fosler

Chief Operations Officer

Shannon Sohl

Chief Administrative Officer

Ted Tomita

Chief Development Officer

Josh Zimmerman

Chief Program Officer

Jan Danaher

Finance Director

Abby Finley

Marketing & Communications Director
Radeance Grover

Radeance Grover

Retail Director

Mike Hedrick

Homeless Services Director

Peter Hilden

Facilities Director

Charmel Jacobs

Volunteer Supervisor

Jennifer Jacobs

Hope Clinic Supervisor
Chris P

Chris Patterson

Works! Center Supervisor

Teresa Reeverts

Program Support Services Director

Pam Tomita

Recovery Services Director

Meet our Board of Directors

Ann Dittmar, Chair
Attorney: Guyer & Enichen P.C.


David Davitt, Vice Chair
Attorney:  Schlueter Ecklund & Davitt


Doug Warren, Treasurer
Trust Officer: Midland States Bank


Char Remer, Secretary
Retired: School Administrator

Rev. Robert David Aldridge
Retired Presbyterian Pastor


Ronald Billy, Jr.
Architect: 1919 Architects


Laura Ortiz
Retired: ComEd Human Resources

Warren Slabaugh
President: Heartwood Creations


Noel Sterett
Attorney: Dalton & Tomich


Stan Valiulis
President: Sub-Source

Council of Elders

Rev. Robert David Aldridge
Retired Presbyterian Pastor

Rev. Peder Carlson
Retired Presbyterian Pastor

Rev. Gordon E. Hanstad
Retired Baptist General Conference Pastor

Pastor Lee McClanathan
Retired Pastor

Richard Todd 
CEO, Todd Transit

Rockford Rescue Mission

is an IRS-approved

501(c)3 charitable organization.

All donations

to Rockford Rescue Mission

are tax-deductible.

Tour the History of Rockford Rescue Mission


  • 1963: Nadine Pitney reads a series of stories in the Rockford Register Republic newspaper about the city’s growing homelessness crisis. What Rockford needs, she says to herself, is a rescue mission like Chicago’s famed Pacific Garden Mission. At an urban ministries conference that year at Rockford’s Pilgrim Baptist Church, she hears leaders talk about the same need. Nadine and her husband, Rev. Gerald O. Pitney, begin praying fervently that God will send someone to Rockford to start a rescue mission.
  • 1964: Ray Stewart, a recovered alcoholic and new Christian, comes from the Pacific Garden Mission to establish a similar mission in Rockford. He rents a building at 116 Kishwaukee St. for $100 a month and opens the doors of the Rockford Rescue Mission on May 1.  The sign on the front door reads, “All are welcome here. The alcoholic, the addict, the stranger, the sojourner, the pilgrim, the poor. There is hope for all who enter here.”
  • 1965: At Ray Stewart’s recommendation, the Board appoints his pastor, Rev. G.O. Pitney with his wife, Nadine, as new director. The first newsletter is published, later called The Rescuer.
  • 1967: All debts are paid off. Rev. Pitney appeals in The Rescuer, “Won’t you help us build a modern city rescue mission which any Christian would be proud of and upon which the world would look with greater respect?”
  • 1969: Forty to fifty churches are supporting the Mission and The Rescuer circulation reaches 2,000.


  • 1971: The Mission buys the 21,000 square foot Germania Club at 121 South Madison St. for $30,000. The building, built in 1892 with a ballroom, bar and Rockford’s first automated bowling alley, is converted into a place of refuge, redemption and recovery. The new Mission motto is: “Help all the people we can, in all the ways we can, as long as ever we can.”
  • 1974: The Mission partners with Christian Love Acres, a 60-acre farm near South Beloit, to provide work rehabilitation for the men through doing chores, caring for animals, buying and selling hay and painting tractors.
  • 1975: Women and children are included in outreach services; a literacy program began, and free clothing is distributed to the needy through Family Day program.
  • 1979: The abandoned Poole Hotel at 730 West State St. and the house behind it on Elm Street are purchased from Salvation Army for $10,000 to care for  women and families. “Ye Rescue Shoppe” opens in a rented building at 309 Seventh St. to sell donated goods to support the Mission. Mission founder Ray Stewart dies in an auto accident. In tribute, G.O. Pitney writes, “If it had not been for Ray Stewart, there would not be a Rockford Rescue Mission.”


  • 1980: A house at 723 Elm St. is purchased for $32,000 for staff housing and “Kiddie Kare” children’s ministry.
  • 1982: Perry Pitney (oldest son of G.O. and Nadine Pitney) and his wife, Sherry, are hired to lead the programs (Perry is named Associate Director in 1984 and Director in 1987).
  • 1984: “The Pitney Family Gospel Singers” begin touring to give concerts in order to raise awareness and funds for the Mission.
  • 1985: The Christian Care Center, with eighteen rooms for women and children’s recovery, is dedicated after six years of renovations.
  • 1987: “The Pitneys” are named “Contemporary Gospel Bluegrass Group of the Year” by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America.
  • 1988: “The Helping Hand” at 125 Madison St. opens to distribute free food and clothing to those in need.


  • 1992: An area auto dealer donates a 46,000 square foot building at 1201 Broadway, which is later sold for $119,000 to be designated as a building fund.
  • 1994: The Mission purchases and develops 42 acres in Southwest Rockford for a children’s day camp and recreational/agricultural programs known as Mission Acres.
  • 1995: The Rockford Register Star presents the Mission with its Excelsior Award for outstanding contribution to the community.

The Launch of Hope Place

  • 1996: The Mission purchases 5.5 acres of property at 600 and 700 West State St. for $150,000 from Bill Hembrough Buick, which includes a gift in kind of $392,000. “Ye Rescue Shoppe” is sold and the Mission opens a new thrift store, “Keepers Unlimited” at 1405 Kishwaukee St.
  • 1998: “The Pitneys” win the Rockford Area Music Industry (RAMI) Award for Best Christian music group. Nadine Pitney receives the YWCA Marcella Harris Award for Community Service.
  • 1999: The Mission relocates to Hope Place. This new facility is made possible by a $4.5 million capital campaign. The Women’s Crisis Center, Hope Clinic and a second thrift store are opened. The staff increases to 102 employees. G.O. and Nadine Pitney retire.


  • 2000: Perry Pitney resigns, and Dr. Pat Clinton becomes interim director. The Innovative Education Center opens, and community outreach support groups are launched.
  • 2001: Keepers Unlimited opens a third thrift store at Southgate Shopping Center. Sherry Pitney is appointed Executive Director.
  • 2002: The Mission is licensed by the Illinois Department of Human Services as a State Certified Recovery Home. Hope Dental Clinic opens.
  • 2004:  The Mission celebrates its 40th anniversary. Rescuing the Raggedy Man: The History of Rockford Rescue Mission by Perry Pitney and Jim Killam is published.
  • 2005: Former Executive Director Perry Pitney is killed in an auto accident.
  • 2009: The building at 625 West State St. is renovated to house Restoration Café, a vocational training center and café open to the public. The Mission’s “Mother of Rescue,” Nadine Pitney, dies after a long battle with cancer. The Mission celebrates 10 years at Hope Place and 45 years of ministry. The Mission receives the Spirit of Caring Award from Crusader Community Health.


  • 2010: Rev. G.O. Pitney dies at age 80 after battling Parkinson’s Disease for 26 years. The block of Horsman Street between State Street and Mulberry Street is designated “Pitney Place” in honor of G.O. and Nadine Pitney.
  • 2011: The Mission expands its State Street campus with the purchase of the building at 212 N. Rockton Ave. to accommodate needs of the facilities department.
  • 2012: The Mission purchases the former 56,000 square foot Bob’s Hardware to expand the Thrift Store operation. The Mission receives a $750,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank in Chicago to fund renovations at Hope Place.
  • 2014: The Mission celebrates its 50th anniversary with “What’s your story?” theme.
  • 2015: The Mission receives “Partners in Success Guardian Award” from Carpenter’s Place.
  • 2016: A $7 million building expansion called Pitney Place is completed. The women and children move in May 10, 2016. The Jay and Christine Akely playground is dedicated. The former Pregnancy Care Center at 611 West State is purchased for expansion.
  • 2017: Drive-thru to Restoration Café opens. The Mission opens expanded education and career program called Works! Center. Remade shop opens at 611 W. State St. The former Jay Tronics building located at 124 N. Rockton Ave. is purchased for future expansion.
  • 2018: The William Howard and Lucille D. Dittmar Performing Arts Center opens. Men’s Remade begins. Restoration Cafe wins first-place Business is Blooming award from the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for its attractive and inviting exterior.
  • 2019:  The Mission celebrates its 55th anniversary. In the Works! Center, the GED testing center opens, offering hundreds of tests to increase local job seekers’ employability.


2020: As an essential service during the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, the Mission perseveres and innovates. For the first time ever, all community meals and the Thanksgiving Feast and Christmas Banquet are served to-go. The Restoration Café and the Remade shop combine as Nettie’s Mercantile, on the site of the former Restoration Cafe.

2021: As the pandemic goes on, periodic quarantines and lockdowns for portions of the Mission continue to keep residents, guests, volunteers and staff members safe. The Life Recovery Program meets requirements and standards as a quality program provider of the Genesis Process. The Life Recovery Program achieves a success rate of 63 percent. CEO Sherry Pitney is elected vice president of Citygate Network’s Great Lakes District.